Housing common areas of the two blocks as well as the 18 SOHOs and 2 shops at the southeast and southwest corners, the foundation integrates the city block with its context while it also organizes transparencies, allowing glimpses of the patios in the heart of the block from the little north and south alleyways. A peripteral façade encircling the city block contains and unifies the programs and typologies differentiated within its perimeter.
Echoing the dissociation of a lower world from an upper world, the principle of the base is the contrast between a continuous concrete orthogonal grid plan
with an architectonic concrete façade versus a fragmented core of the city block, composed of trapezoidal volumes in quincunx clad with aluminum siding on a mixed wood/concrete framework. This opposition of geometry and material between the public sphere and the private sphere is both traditional and Parisian in that it recalls the organizing principles of royal Parisian squares.
The architectural form of the interior of this city block results from a triple requirement:
+propose a specific typology with multiple variations in answer to the innovative SOHO program,
+enable a maximum of natural light to penetrate to compensate for the masking effects of neighboring buildings and to foster a new kind of sociability in the heart of the block,
+densify the available volume while respecting the Parisian building regulations with the aim of proposing a fifth façade that continues the genius loci.
A SPECIFIC TYPOLOGY
The principle of the SOHOs is to articulate, in a double-height volume and leased by the same person, serving as a professional space with an adjoining apartment.
Rather than separate the professional zone from the dwelling zone as is the case in most other SOHOs, we proposed a specific typology based on the two following principles:
+ensuring continuity between the office/apartment via a physical link and an undifferentiated treatment of the spaces,
+proposing two differentiated accesses for each entity with more than two rooms, with a business access on the street and a private access in the interior of the city block.
Spaces dedicated to dwelling occupy the entire center of the city block, on the upper floor for the larger SOHOs and on the patio level for the smaller units. They are linked to the working areas located on the ground floor facing the street by interior stairs and benefit from an independent access via an exterior corridor on the upper floor, itself accessible from the dedicated lobby opening onto the southern alleyway.
By allowing for a certain level of porosity between the relatively fragmented spaces, this typological arrangement creates a degree of indetermination between dwelling and work areas while guaranteeing a minimum level of intimacy.
LIGHT AND SOCIABILITY IN THE HEART OF THE CITY BLOCK
The typologies proposed for the SOHOs reference the townhouse more than the ground floor apartment, with the private exterior extension around the 6 terraces and 6 micro patios laid out in quincunx fashion to allow the maximum amount possible of natural light to penetrate through large glazed bays in the heart of this city block subjected to the shadows thrown by surrounding towers. The enlarged corridor forming semi-private terraces, generates a semi-public space that encourages a form of micro- urbanity at the same time it enhances respiration in the heart of the city block.
Starting with the principle that density is a quality of the urban landscape of Paris, we worked on the range of heights of this built volume with the goal of expressing, on a micro-level, a sociable
density aimable like the traditional image of Paris, by offering the users of SOHOs extended private exteriors on the terraces and in the micro patios whose dimensions (6 m x 4 m) result from the strict application of the regulations in the PLU (local town plan).
We imagined the fifth façade as a new “metal blanket” made of perforated and ribbed aluminum that seems in alternance to be either extruded to form hipped roofs, or stamped to generate patios and terraces clad with galvanized steel grating.
This interplay of inclined roofs recalls the history of the site, borrowing from the volumetry of train sheds like the nearby logistical platform.